Apple has overtaken Samsung and HP to become the biggest consumer of semiconductors, according to research from Gartner.
The research company said Apple had used its dominant position in growth markets to increase its purchasing power and become the biggest buyer of inventory in the $300bn market.
The top ten manufacturers made up $105 billion or 35% of sales, with Apple buying up 5.7% of all available stock, Samsung and HP accounting for 5.5% of the market each, and Dell representing 3.2% of sales.
Mobile gadgets accounted for the majority of the 1.8% increase in sales, Gartner said.
"The major growth drivers in 2011 were smartphones, media tablets and solid-state drives," said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Those companies that gained share in the smartphone market, such as Apple, Samsung Electronics and HTC, increased their semiconductor demand.”
While growth for most manufacturers was based on mobile handsets, Apple's increased importance to the semiconductor sector was also based on the success of the MacBook Air, Gartner said.
“Apple gained a much greater share of the smartphone market, and its media tablet business was also highly successful in 2011,” said Yamaji.
“While DRAM prices fell drastically in 2011, and many PC vendors decreased their total semiconductor demand accordingly, the success of the MacBook Air enabled Apple to increase semiconductor chip demand even in its PC business.”
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk